Twitter Are Considering Introducing a Fake News Button

PC Magazine
Fake news is plaguing social media, and it sits in a kind of unique category. It can't be dealt with in the same way as abuse, hacking, spamming or any of the other common issues that moderators and platforms at large have to cope with. Fake news isn't generated on social media platforms, they just act as a signal booster for it. For this reason, Facebook and Twitter have both struggled to find the ideal approach, but now it looks like Twitter have found a new one - a 'fake news button'.

The concept is simple - each tweet has a drop down menu containing the options to report the tweet or block or mute the user responsible for it. Twitter are proposing that a new tab would be added to this menu allowing users to report the tweet as a source of fake news. Twitter haven't confirmed this themselves, but inside sources have reported that this is the more likely format.

Whether or not we'll ever actually see it in action is another matter. While it's definitely on the table, concerns have been expressed that it could easily be misused, especially by those with a particular political or social agenda. In this sense, legitimate news stories and opinion pieces could start getting flagged en masse as a form of protest against the ideas they represent.

For this reason, Twitter have made sure to clarify that there are 'no current plans' to actually launch the feature, and even if it does launch, it might take on an entirely different form to the one currently being proposed. Twitter will have to find a way to assure that users can't use it maliciously, regardless of what it comes out looking like.

The real spreaders of fake news aren't people, though, at least not directly. Twitter's biggest problem are bots which spread bogus propaganda, and while it makes sense to implement a means of actively reporting fake news, bot blocking is the thing that Twitter really need to throw their weight behind.

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